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Monday, August 18, 2008


O here it is!
And there it is!
And no-one knows whose share it is
Nor dares to stake a claim;
But we have seen it in the air
A fairy -- like a William pear
With but itself to blame.

A thug it is!
And smug it is!
And like a floating pug it is!
Above the orchard trees
It has no right -- no right at all
To soar above the orchard wall
With chilblains on its knees!

(From memory.)

Hey, this is totally off topic of course, but you don't have a mailto address. I really thought you should see this since you wrote an article on "Fleet Week", what, something like a month ago...

"Imperial Fleet Week" in San Francisco, one of the City's many traditions.


MFB: Nicely done, especially from memory....

Thomas: Is there supposed to be a video there? I can see the still of the Death Star over the city (har), but nothing on the main page, no matter how I look at it (which browser, which page on the site, etc).

[ Hint: "john at" works. I used to have a different contact email address on here—looks like it may have gotten lost with one of TypePad's updates. ]

Yes there's a video, I had no problems watching it on IE or Firefox both at work and at home... it's about 3 minutes of a wide assortment of Imperial ships hanging around San Francisco, and the San Franciscans nonchalantly going about their business. It's hilarious...

I don't know why you wouldn't be able to see the video, it is right on the page there that I cited, at the top as you say, there should be a triangular "play" button in the middle of the page, the video starts to load when you hit the "play" button. Perhaps you have not updated your "Adobe Flash player" or "Active-X" or some minor software crap like that. Make sure your software is current, is all I can say at this point.

Since you seem to be interested, I have some ripping software, I might be able to download it, change it into an AVI or MPEG or something, and then mail it to the address you mention. But I'm at work, all that stuff is at home, I'll get to that over the weekend if you still can't see the video.

Figured it out: cookies. They need 'em, I have 'em turned off for basically all sites (IE and Firefox). Should have guessed.

So: Yeah, very jocular. That's just about how I feel about Fleet Week. Which is part of why poetry about horny knives and silly cakes makes me so happy.

Heehee! Great. :)

I've come across about 20 versions of this poem and they all start wrong, its a bit annoying and it doesn't flow like iambic pentameter should. Its not 'upon',

A freckled and frivolous cake there was
That sailed on a pointless sea,

It doesn't work with 'upon a pointless sea', that's clumsy poetically speaking and Peake wouldn't do that

I no longer have a copy of the book, but it looks like it is in fact based on Google Books. I'm guessing others just copied it from some Internet source like I did.

Regarding flow though, I'm guessing you're reading "sailed" as two syllables ("that SAI-led ON a POINT-less SEA"), but it flows just fine as "upon" if you read "sailed" as one syllable ("that SAILED upON a POINT-less SEA"). Also, the poem's neither iambic nor pentameter overall, and the "flow" of the other lines is atrocious if judged by that standard (e.g. "on the WAVES of the O-cean that POINT-less-ly"). Basically Peake plays with the metre throughout the poem.

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